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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 16 declined, 14 accepted (30 total, 46.67% accepted)

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Submission + - Microsoft cloud services crash leaving customers without data access. (

rtfa-troll writes: Edited re-send of earlier submission

TechCrunch reports Microsoft's Outlook and SkyDrive services failed with other services also apparently implicated. Restoration has taken many hours and was still apparently not complete more than a day later. Microsoft's cloud solutions are part of its long term survival strategy of following Apple's iCloud and attacking more experienced providers such as Amazon's S3, Google's Apps and App Engine, and RackSpace's public cloud, whilst attempting to block development of more open cloud software such as Eucalyptus, OpenStack and RedHat's OpenShift. TechCrunch also warns of the dangers of of Microsoft's new cloudified operating systems telling that they have been "boosting [SkyDrive's] integration points in Windows 8.1" something which will put customer's data at risk of access without their consent beyond any questions of reliability.

We just discussed how shareholder lawsuits over Microsoft's previous attempt to spread the Windows OS beyond the desktop and this is not even our first discussion of major Microsoft cloud outages this year whilst older discussions have covered Microsoft's failure to keep adequate cloud system backups which makes slow to recover crashes very worrying."

Submission + - Another Microsoft cloud outage (

rtfa-troll writes: Microsoft's Outlook and SkyDrive services failed with other services also apparently implicated. Restoration has taken many hours and is still apparently not complete. Microsoft's cloud solutions are it's long term survival strategy following Apple's iCloud and attacking more experienced providers such as Amazon, Google, RackSpace and VmWare, whilst fighting a reargard action against more open cloud software such as Eucalyptus, OpenStack and RedHat's OpenShift. With Microsoft's previous failed attempt to move Windows away from the traditional desktop already triggering lawsuits this could hardly come at a worse time for Microsoft's management. TechCrunch also warns of the dangers of of Microsoft's new cloudified operating systems telling that they have been "boosting [SkyDrive's] integration points in Windows 8.1" something which will mean every customer's data is at risk of unauthorized access.

This is not even the first discussion of major Microsoft cloud outages this year whilst we have also discussed Microsoft's failure to keep adequate customer backups.

Submission + - Surveillence story turns into a warning about employer monitoring

rtfa-troll writes: The story from yesterday about Google searches has turned into a warning about how work place surveillance could harm you. It turns out that Michele Catalano's husband's boss tipped off the police after finding "suspicious" searches including "pressure cooker bombs" in his old work computer's search history. Luckily for the Catalanos, who even allowed a search of their house when they probably didn't have to, it seems professional and friendly policemen supported by the FBI were called in and instead of them getting killed in a SWAT raid Catalano was merely talked to politely by some men in black cars who even mentioned to Catalano that 99 times out of 100 these tip-offs come to nothing. Perhaps a lesson to be a bit more careful about your privacy so that what you do on the internet remains between you and the professionals in the NSA in future? Best to use tor so that you can be sure they are the only ones listening in. Maybe also a good tip for what to look for if you want to get revenge on former team members who leave you with a pile of bad code?

Submission + - Android leads customer satisfaction as Android competition widens.

rtfa-troll writes: Android was once seen as a cheaper option in smartphones, but no more. Samsung's Galaxy Android phones have taken the top two places in this year's ACSI smartphone customer satisfaction survey and it's worth looking at these together with the manufacturer's first half results which Tommi Ahonen has been covering on his blog. Samsung is the satisfaction leader, displacing Apple who took the top slots last year, though Apple won't be too upset after taking the remaining three slots in the top five especially given that the other three of the top four from last year are not listed at all, however this does back up Tommi's claim that we may have "passed 'Peak iPhone'" unless mass market iPhone rumours turn out to be true and this rescues Apple. Three more Android phones, two of them from Motorola follow Apple. LG and HTC didn't make the top ten at all, which may explain why both companies after dabbling with other systems returned to 100% Android commitment, something Tommi claims is reflected in LG's recent recovery which puts them in strong 3rd place in the smartphone market and makes it clear that it's not only Samsung that can profit from Android. At the end of the top ten, Blackberry's old models made a good showing, the only other OS in the list and a vast improvement on last year.

ACSI covers the actual long term customer experience, so the phones and systems listed are all ones that have been available for some time. Systems such as BB10 and FirefoxOS which only arrived this year won't have been out at the time won't have a chance to be listed until next year.

We discussed recently LG's decision to return to full Android commitment

Submission + - Office delay gives Google a real chance, and not just Google Apps. ( 1

rtfa-troll writes: Microsoft Office slideware for iOS and Android has been resisting many migrations to Google Apps. Although a number of the largest companies, from KLM to Disney have already moved to Google Apps, most large companies are still using MS office heavily and the majority of current Google users are smaller businesses. Now Microsoft has been forced to admit that its office suite for Android will be delayed by at least a year and Zdnet tells us that Google will be the big winner from that, however they say that QuickOffice rather than Google apps will be the main winner. Other Android app suites will benefit too, though currently The Android version of LibreOffice is only available as a dev build for sideloading and is having some difficulties packaging for Google play so may not benefit from this delay unless some more volunteers step up to help. Microsoft relies heavily on office for revenue so this may represent a real long term threat to the company.

Submission + - Microsoft Azure total outage for secured storage ( 2

rtfa-troll writes: There has been worldwide (all locations) total outage of storage in Microsoft's Azure cloud. Apparently "Microsoft unwittingly let an online security certificate expire Friday, triggering a worldwide outage in an online service that stores data for a wide range of business customers." according to the San Francisco Chronicle (also Yahoo and the Register). Perhaps too much time has been spent sucking up to storage vendros and not enough looking after the customers? This comes directly after a week long outage of one of Microsoft's SQL server components in Azure. This is not the first time that we have discussed major outages on Azure and probably won't be the last. It's certainly also not the first time that we have discussed Microsoft cloud systems making user's data unavailable.

Submission + - Microsoft blames PC makers for Windows failure. ( 1

rtfa-troll writes: The Register tells us that Microsoft has begun squabbling with PC manufacturers over the reasons behind the failure of Windows 8. Microsoft is "frustrated with major OEMs who didn't build nearly enough touch systems". PC manufacturers have hit back saying that they "would have been saddled with the costs of a huge piles of unsold units" claiming that customers actually avoided higher end touch products which were available and instead bought lower end cheaper laptops whilst "Microsoft is not blaming itself for" the failure of it's own touch device, surface RT. The PC manufacturer's claims that touch is the problem seem to be backed by reviews, and some educational rants from users and opinion from user interface design experts, however Microsoft sees this differently . Microsoft is planning to strike back at the PC vendors in February with Surface pro; with a shorter battery life and much heavier than a normal tablet, this is being seen as a direct competitor to traditional laptops. By using it's desktop operating system franchise as a lever Microsoft will be able to enter the lower specification end of the Laptop market with a cost advantage which make make life difficult for former partners such as HP and Dell.

We've discussed previously how some PC manufactures such as Dell have failed in generational change whilst others have diversified to survive market chainges; Samsung with Android and the (still) bestselling Chromebook. ASUS with their successful Nexus tablets. We also discussed the ergonomic problems which are claimed to make touch screens unsuitable for PC use.

Submission + - Nokia's collapse - separating out the "Elop Effect" (

rtfa-troll writes: Slashdot Editor: please make this image a link to this story. Tommi states "This graph may be freely shared"

After six months of Steven Elop Nokia was still increasing its smartphone sales lead over Apple. Symbian increased to 32% of all mobile browsing in mid 2011 so the future of the mobile web looked completely different from today. Android's lead in mobile was not yet settled. There was everything to play for. Two years later even Nokia's official numbers show them selling fewer smartphones in a quarter than Apple has sold in a single day; Nokia had it's first Christmas ever with smartphone sales lower than RIM's; Nokia's shares, even after a dead cat bounce to almost 5 Euro, are worth less than a third of their peak early in Elop's term (below 10% of Nokia's historic highs), a 40 Billion Euro loss for Nokia shareholders. In response Tommi Ahonen's blog is running a series analyzing the causes behind what he shows is the mobile "world record in market collapse". Probably the best place to start, Tommi Ahonen's simplest posting, compares Elop's promises with Nokia's current reality and Analysts predictions for it's old strategy.

Tommi explains the Elop Effect, a new part of the financial vocabulary, has now joined the Ratner Effect and Osborne Effect as examples of CEO communication errors which destroy businesses. The definition, not yet 100% stable, is a willful badmouthing of your own companies most successful products combined with no plan B during a misjudged change of technical direction ("when you combine Osborne Effect and Ratner Effect"). Tommi shows that this turns out to be much stronger than Ratner or Osborne's accidents could ever be. In Tommi's latest posting he covers how the Elop Effect lead to a failed migration claiming that "Only one in 14 attempts to transition to Lumia has succeeded" and points out that two thirds of Windows Phone users are looking to change system for their next phone. If true it looks as if Nokia's rumored move to Android or even a redirection to concentrate on software and services would require deposing Elop whilst their prospects for 2013 look worse than ever.

We have discussed Tommi's predictions a number of times since he correctly predicted Lumia's low sales numbers back in 2011. We also discussed the "Elop Effect" before. We just recently discussed the "Chinese Smartphone Invasion" which is likely to leave little space for a Windows revival especially if the massive marketing cost of Lumia is true.


Submission + - Chromebook takes top place in laptop sales on Amazon. ( 1

rtfa-troll writes: Amazon's latest table of the top selling laptops will be a surprise for many on Slashdot who's first reaction when we discussed this before was "so what" with pundits describing it as "an enterprise contender". Given the recent launch and huge advertising campaign, you would expect that the top selling consumer laptop would be based in Win8. If you read recent discussions about Microsoft's troubled new system you might expect a Mac to be leading but Google's Chromebook topping the sales chart on a consumer site without any major advertising campaign is a major surprise. We've discussed before that apart from it's web based ChromeOS Chromebooks are also very fast running Ubuntu Linux and have several other distributions already ported.

Submission + - Recycling a single software UI makes Windows 8 a productivity eating "monster" (

rtfa-troll writes: Usability expert Jakob Nielsen has a detailed posting on Windows 8 Metro UI (sometimes called "Modern"). The article goes through the design mistakes which "strangles [the user's] productivity" and talks about the "Error-Prone Gestures" with "swipe ambiguity" included in Windows and discovered with only a limited level of usability testing. He then goes on to say that, whilst it is possible that 'Windows 9 will be "Metro Done Right"', "Windows 8 is Mr. Hyde: a monster that terrorizes poor office workers" and that the fundamental unsolvable problem is "the idea of recycling a single software UI for two very different classes of hardware devices." The saddest part of the article? Jakob is a well respected academic and when he previously criticised usability in iPad apps, one year later most of those apps had improved based on that feedback; reaction from Android was similar. In his criticism of Windows 8 he actually had to include a section "I Don't Hate Microsoft" through fear of being accused of being a "fanboy or a Microsoft hater". Will Microsoft listen or is it stuck in the echo chamber of it's online reputation managers?
Your Rights Online

Submission + - Fox news parent NewsCorp may face corruption investigation (

rtfa-troll writes: The Guardian reports that News Corporation may face FCPA investigations after an "official of the British ministry of defence" was charged "for allegedly receiving £100,000 from Murdoch's tabloid newspapers". News corporation, headed by Rupert Murdock, is loved by most of the readers of Slashdot as the owner of Fox News and as the company which put the overly complicated paywall on the Wall Street Journal. The article states that the charges "would be hard for the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission to ignore and would warrant investigation under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act which could lead to risks for "27 TV licences within the Fox network" .

Submission + - Apple: Brits too thick for Javascript; hides statement off the edge of homepage. (

rtfa-troll writes: If you had already been ticked off for failing to follow a court order properly, you would be careful not to mess up this time, wouldn't you? Well, maybe not if you are not a big corporation. After being caught misleading people about it's designs Apple was ordered to clearly state that "the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Tab 8.9 and Tab 7.7 do not infringe Apple’s Community registered design". First time around they actually included further misleading statements on the same page as their correction leading to headlines such as APPLE: SCREW YOU, BRITS, everyone else says Samsung copied us actually being shown by Samsung in court. This time round, Apple was ordered to put up some text on their homepage. Technically the correction is part of the homepage HTML, however, if you go and look at Apple's UK homepage you will find that a clever piece of Javascript which resizes the headline product image means that for any normal consumer screen, you will never actually see the notice without manually scrolling past the end of the normal legal messages. How far can Apple push and get away with it?

Submission + - Nexus 7 and Android convertibles drive massive ASUS profit (

rtfa-troll writes: The collapse of the PC market has had much discussion on Slashdot with a common opinion that, now that Apple is the largest personal computer manufacturer, a loss of sales combined with Apple's iPad will completely eliminate most of them. Now Asustek's most recent results show that there may be a way out for those that can move away from their standard markets. Concentrating on Android tablet devices, the Google Nexus 7, with a help from ASUS transformer tablets has driven the company to massive $230 million profits. Asus gross revenue also climbed 9 percent to around $3.8 billion.

We have discussed related issues recently: Where companies like HTC have lost their focus on open Android devices and suffered from devastating collapses, ASUS has managed to differentiate it's tablets by providing the most open tablet experience possible via with Google's Nexus program and branding.


Submission + - Amazon Wipes Kindle and account; won't say why. (

rtfa-troll writes: Thinking of giving someone a Kindle or other restricted tablet for Christmas? Maybe you should think again. Amazon reserves the right to destroy it's contents at any time and won't even explain why. At least this is what Martin Bekkelund is claiming in his blog posting which includes the contents of emails from Michael Murphy at Amazon's Executive Customer Relations with the classic quotes "Please know that any attempt to open a new account will meet with the same action." and "we are unable to provide detailed information on how we link related accounts". How would you feel if your father in law's book collection suddenly disappeared from the kindle you bought him with no explanation? This story has been picked up by the UK Newspaper the Guardian although an Amazon sales rep claimed it was false to one commenter there The Guardian states that Amazon has refused to give any official comment so far. Even if this does turn out to be false, it's a good reminder of what can and will happen when DRM means that big media no longer has pirate copies to compete against. This kind of remote wipe is going to be difficult to avoid since both Microsoft and Apple also reserve the power to remotely wipe your device (though in Apple's case this is only ever known to have been used for security reasons and even Google tied Android tablets could be forced to install such a feature with a court order. Almost the only devices immune to this type of attack are third party (non Google integrated) Android tablets and Mer based tablets aimed at Linux hackers.

Submission + - Bad review of Windows 8 app store mysteriously disappears (

rtfa-troll writes: One of the first reviews of Microsoft Windows 8 to include coverage of Microsoft's app store has been deleted almost before it was made available. Most reviews of the Surface tablet have focused on the base 32Gb flash memory and own brand keyboard whilst avoiding key tablet features such as screen resolution, weight, battery life and amount of space taken by the OS install. None so far have covered the details of the App store which is the only source of the "Modern Interface" (Metro) apps for the soon to arrive Surface tablets which are incapable of running traditional "Windows" desktop applications. In what seems a clear sign that the main IT media is not willing to allow criticism of Microsoft, one of the few reviews to cover Microsoft's Windows App store has been almost instantly disappeared from Gartner's blog site. The register has a screen dumped version of the review which, coming from Gartner, the Microsoft partner who predicted 20% market share for Mango (Windows Phone 7), is actually surprisingly "on message" to be deleted. With Microsoft putting well over a billion dollars into advertising, is there any chance that there will be fair reporting the failings of surface and Windows 8?

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